Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sausage over Polenta with Roasted Butternut Squash

I made this dish mild since I was feeding it to my kids , but you could definitely use spicy sausage to kick the heat up a bit. The butternut squash was so sweet and delicious, my son thought it was carrots... since he loves cooked carrots I wasn't going to argue with him.

Roasted Squash:
1 pound turkey sausage
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp safflower oil
1 handful fresh sage, chopped
1 cup corn grits/polenta

2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a large jellyroll pan, place butternut squash, salt, pepper, oil and sage. Toss together and put in oven for about 35 minutes or until tender. In another baking dish, place turkey sausage and a little bit of water in the bottom of the dish. Also place in oven and cook for 30 minutes (you can bake these two at the same time).

Meanwhile, on stove top, place 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and slowly add corn grits. Stir with a wooden spoon and be careful because it will bubble and may pop out of pan. Should be done in 15-20 minutes. Add butter and cheese.

Take turkey sausage out of oven after about 30 minutes and cut into small pieces. Put 2 tbsp oil in large saute pan to finish cooking sausage and brown it.

To plate, put polenta in dish, top with sausage and sprinkle butternut squash around on top.

Friday, September 24, 2010

White Bean and Greens Soup

I adapted this recipe from one I found in Cooking Light. It was really tasty! Collard greens are my new favorite dark, leafy green. I really like their texture in the soup. This soup could definitely be made with a can or two of beans instead of using dried beans (which would also make it a super fast meal.) I served it with goat cheese spread on a crusty french bread.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup pinot grigio or other light white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups finely shredded collard greens
  • 2 cups finely shredded red swiss chard
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cup dried Great Northern beans ( not sure exactly how much I had but was somewhere between 1 and 2 cups)

Prepare the dried beans:

Put beans in a medium sized pot filled with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil for 2 minutes then turn the heat off, cover the pot and allow them to remain in the water for 1 hour. Rinse and drain beans. Put back in pot with new water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so, until tender.


Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add wine, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add greens, thyme, and broth. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until greens are tender. Add beans and serve.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Honey Cumin Chicken Thighs and Eggplant-Heirloom Tomato Gratin

Gratin before it went in the oven:
And right before serving:

The chicken was very flavorful and the gratin was awesome! This was all made ahead of time and then served room temperature.


3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper
8 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

Combine all ingredients above in a bowl and marinate chicken for at least 4 hours. Remove chicken from marinade (and discard marinade) and saute chicken in nonstick grill pan for about 4 minutes each side or until done.

Tomato Eggplant Gratin (from Food & Wine)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 heirloom tomatoes (medium sized), sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
4 thyme sprigs
kosher salt and ground pepper
goat cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush a large oval baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the tomato and eggplant slices in a single layer of overlapping concentric circles. Scatter the thyme sprigs on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is barely tender and the tomatoes have exuded their juices.
  2. Uncover the gratin and bake for about 25 minutes longer, or until the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are very tender. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taco Stew

This dish could be considered chili or even used as a taco filling (if you use less liquid). You can also make it your own and add your own ingredients depending on what is in your pantry. If you have a can of diced tomatoes you can substitute the tomato sauce and chopped fresh tomato or if you don't have black beans, use whatever ones you do have or throw in an extra can for more variety, or if you have fresh or frozen corn, throw that in too! My point is, there is lots of room for creativity. Here is my creation....

1 pound ground beef
1 large tomato, diced
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can of black beans (not drained or rinsed)
1 zucchini, cut into cubes
2 tbsp taco seasoning ( ok I didn't have taco seasoning so i made my own.... here is what I threw in... 1 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion flakes, 1/4 sweet paprika, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin)
1 tbsp cornmeal (adds thickness to the stew.... not necessary if you don't have it but then maybe don't put a full 2 cups of broth in)

Brown meat in a large pot over medium high heat. Drain, remove and set aside. In the same pot, saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add meat back to the pan and sprinkle mixture with taco seasoning to blend. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 15- 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheddar cheese and tortilla chips or fritos. (We used a bag of fritos I got from Trader Joes that were perfect for scooping.)

** If you are not going to eat this right away, wait to add the zucchini because you don't want to overcook it...add it about 15 minutes before serving and don't forget it because it adds a nice texture. You don't want it to be mushy.